While it may seem as though Alexander Rusev was suddenly called up from NXT after only a few months of appearing on the show, Rusev has actually been under contract to WWE since 2010 and has independent wrestling history dating back even further than that. A big, raw athlete that the company hired to hopefully shape into a star, Rusev was faced with incredible hurdles before he could finally see the end of the proverbial tunnel and his call-up to WWE late last year. In 2010, Rusev saw his training interrupted when he suffered a torn ACL and meniscus. The injury sidelined him for a few weeks and easily could hampered his career significantly. He fought back and continued his training in Florida Championship Wrestling. Two years later, he suffered what could have been the end of the road for Rusev in the professional wrestling business. A broken neck left his arm temporarily paralyzed. It was a very serious injury that could have spelled the end of his career. Instead, Rusev rehabbed and returned to his home country, where he learned muy thai kickboxing, something that would greatly add to his in-ring performances. He came back and by 2013, was pushed heavily on NXT and earned his way onto the main roster. The perseverance and dedication he demonstrated made it clear that he has a passion for wrestling. For any truly successful star, those two things are essential pieces of the puzzle.
Erik Beaston is a freelance pro wrestling writer who likes long walks in the park, dandelions and has not quite figured out that this introduction is not for Match.com. He resides in Parts Unknown, where he hosts weekly cookouts with Kane, The Ultimate Warrior, Papa Shango and The Boogeyman. Be jealous.